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Flash Fiction Friday: Guitar Man

by John Wayne Comunale

You know that old Elvis song, Guitar Man? I guess if I had to blame this all on something, anything; I would blame it on that. The moment after I heard that song I knew what I was supposed to do. It was like a blueprint for life laid out right there by our lord and savior, the King himself. There’s one thing I’ll tell you for sure, and that is if there’s someone you can trust on God’s green Earth it’s Elvis. It’d be near sacrilege not to. That said, I picked up my guitar, kissed my mama, gave my daddy the finger and took off on a bus to Memphis where I’d begin my new life as a Guitar Man.

I got off the bus in Memphis with my trusty guitar on my back, thus completing the first set of instructions given by Elvis in his song of truth. When the dust settled I stepped out to cross the street on my way to literally the first honky-tonk joint I saw. Halfway across something occurred to me that I hadn’t given much thought too until now. I had been so blindly following the orders of the all-powerful Presley I totally forgot that I didn’t know how to play the guitar at all.

Not a single lick.

In fact, the guitar I had grabbed from my room and ‘slung upon my back’ was a souvenir my gramma had gotten for me from the booze cruise she died on two years ago. It was made of cardboard with a dowel rod attached and two pieces of twine tied to it. Sex on the Beach was airbrushed across the front to commemorate gramma’s favorite drink, and also her favorite place to have sex. Just as these thoughts were trickling through the slipstream of my consciousness, I was struck by a yellow Volkswagen Beatle with a bicycle hanging out the trunk. This instantly nullified the poor quality of my guitar since it was smashed to pieces along with the majority of bones in my body, but at least I had one less thing to worry about now.

Even as I was flying into the air cringing in pain from the shattering of my skeletal system I still had faith in Elvis. As long as I followed what he said everything was going to work out. I hit the ground just in time to be pulverized by a bus of Hawaiian Tropics bikini models that was following closely behind the VW. This was probably the sexiest way possible for my broken bones to be ground up finer than the sultry and kind voice of The King telling me how it was gonna’ be hard at first.

The Volkswagen stopped and the driver got out to greet the scantily clad bronze girls running from the bus squealing like pigs on the killing floor. I guess I had been lost in the confusion and coconut oil because no one bothered offering to help pull my mangled innards from the tread of that sexy, sexy bus. The driver of the Volkswagen, however, was doing his absolute damnedest to comfort as many of the barely-legal copper-toned babes as possible by cradling them in his hairy and muscly arms. He was a true and selfless hero in my eyes.

Finally the bus driver, a stout, thickheaded clod of a man noticed me shoved up under the rear wheels. He told me to ‘hold tight’ assuring me he was going pull the bus up enough to get me out from the under the tire so he could take me to the hospital. He must have forgotten his promise because while he did pull the bus up and off of me, he never stopped. He just kept driving leaving me, and his precious sexy cargo alone in the street to fend for ourselves. The girls screamed at the sudden loss of their transportation sounding like a barrel full of lab rats that were set on fire, and thrown off a building. A few of them were lucky enough to fit in the Volkswagen with the greasy driver, especially since he took the bike from the trunk and chucked it in my direction. I’m pretty sure it hit my cheek but I didn’t know exactly where my cheek was anymore.

When the VW was packed to the gills with his new found, sexy cargo he drove off leaving several of the bathing gold-skinned beauties in the street to figure out their next move alone. The models meandered about for a while looking confused until they finally chose a direction and started walking in it. Of course, the direction they chose sent them my way, and they all walked right over my flattened former self. Their spiked heels dug deep into my skin, which had been stretched so thin that each step left a tiny puncture in its wake. I didn’t mind though, and could hardly blame them for not paying attention since they were probably in shock from the accident. It was a perfectly understandable reaction.

Once they rounded the corner the volume of their inaudible shrieks tapered off until the only thing I could hear was the rustling of leaves being pushed along the curb by the warm Tennessee summer breeze. For the next several hours that was all I heard, and I started to wonder how I would catch a ride on down to Macon Georgia since Elvis had prophesied that would be the next stop on my way to becoming a Guitar Man. The sun sank low shooting red and pink lasers down the road when suddenly the doors to the honky-tonk opened, and a man stepped out onto the street.

“Jeeeeezusss Chaaarist,” he said through a thick and silvery beard that sat beneath his chin like a mangy cat with a skin problem. It was by far his most notable feature, and for a moment I was jealous.

This was the kind of beard that defined a man. The exact kind of beard a man who ran a honky-tonk in Memphis Tennessee would, nay, should have. I took this man’s beard as a sign from the great side-burned one in the sky that I was right where I was supposed to be. I quivered what I hoped was my lip as a salute of recognition to Elvis for sending him to me. The old man and his beard approached, and I became light headed with giddiness. He looked down at the mangled sack of boneless flesh I had become and kicked at me.

“Well,” he said, “can’t just leave you out here like this. Besides, I think we can use you here.”

His voice poured from the beard with a golden, dulcet tone that slipped gently into my canals to massage his message into my brain. He bent down, filled his fists with meaty handfuls, and dragged me out of the street into the honky-tonk. I could hardly believe it! I had just barely been in Memphis and I was already going to be a Guitar Man, which was way before Elvis told me it would happen.

“Vicky,” yelled the old man as we entered the club. “Get your shriveled up, useless ass out here and help me with this. I think it’s just the thing you need to help with your, uh . . . problem.”

All I could see from where the man dropped me was the black ceiling, a few bright circular lights, and that majestically magical beard with two eyes attached gazing down upon me. A moment later there was another face looking down, but not one I cared for. It was drawn together with deep-set wrinkles not from age, but from being burned. The gouged in, pink scars converged at a moist hole I assumed was her mouth since a cigarette was dangling from it. She exhaled smoke into my face and bent down to get a closer look, which allowed me to see that she was wearing a bright orange thong only. Also, the burns were not just relegated to her face. They covered the entirety of her exposed body leaving what looked like overgrown, lopsided raisins where her breasts had once been. They reminded me of home for some reason.

“You’re right, Sheldon,” she said through her mangled horror hole. “I think this’ll work just fine.”

That said she pulled a butterfly knife from the back of her thong, and whipped it around elaborately causing the blade to snap up from its sheath. She buried the tip just above where my chest had been, and traced a deep cut all the way down to my groin. The woman that Sheldon had called Vicky picked me up and shook until all the pulverized bone dust, and mashed up organs had fallen out across the dancehall floor. Satisfied, she stepped into my empty skin and her crispy visage disappeared inside of me. She aligned her eyes with mine allowing me to see that I was not in a honky-tonk at all, but a low-end, filth palace of a Z-grade strip club. I could smell through Vicky’s nose the stale aroma of coconut oil and sadness hanging thick and heavy in the uncirculated air. She whirled us around to face the stage and a neon sign above it read: Them’s Some Titties!

That night Vicky wore my skin as she danced, and while it hung loose in some places on account of me having a wider frame than her, it was still tight around the spots where it counted. The swinging flaps of limp flesh served as a sort-of pendulum whose hypnotic power would not let the lecherous voyeur patrons look away. She had more requests for lap dances that night than all her years of stripping including from before she was all burned up. Now she wears me every night being careful to always keep me wiped down and well moisturized so my skin keeps that youthful glow, and stays soft to the touch. I never became the Guitar Man that I set out to be, but it turns out being the fleshy meat-puppet of a badly burned, middle-aged stripper ain’t a bad gig at all. Honestly, I think Elvis would be proud.

——-

John Wayne lives in Houston Texas where he wiles away the days writing ridiculous stories, and slinging lattes for a bunch of jerks. When he’s not doing that he’s touring with his bands: johnwayneisdead and Letters to Voltron. He also writes and illustrates his own zine: The Afterlife Adventures of johnwayneisdead.

Flash Fiction Friday: An Alphabetical List of Every Woman I’ve Ever Slept With

by Danger Slater

#1:

(Actually, before I get started on this list, I just wanted to make it clear that I in no way mean any disrespect to the women on it.)

#1:

(Really, though. I mean that. I am an affectionate man with a gentle touch and a sensitive artist’s soul. I love women in a totally non-predatory way. And I understand that you’re probably skeptical of that, considering the title and premise of this piece, but I will prove it to you. Here is a sentence to illustrate just how sensitive I am:

Love betwixt thine burning ember, O flame forlorn effulgent passion, expound aloof conflagrant fanning, she dances lithe upon thine mind…

HOLYFUCKDIDYOUJUSTREADTHATSHIT? My prose is so emotional! It’s poetic as CRAP! My point is that this list is not about being flippant or rude to all the beautiful women of my past who had, at some point, decided to bed down with me. Rather, I would like this list to serve as a celebration. These women make up the narrative of my life as an artist. From them I draw my inspiration. And inside these women are where I have left little bits and pieces of my heart. My sensitive, sensitive artist’s heart.)

#1:

(Oh, and one more thing before I get started. I want everyone to know I specifically chose to write this list alphabetically and not chronologically, even though chronologically would seem like the more obvious choice. I just happen to firmly believe that alphabetalism is much more respectful to women than chronologicality.)

#1:

(And listen, I am aware that in that last little parenthetical aside I used the words ‘alphabetalism’ and ‘chronologicality’ and that those aren’t “real” words, per se, but are you really going to get hung up on such a minor triviality? Especially right before we we’re about to get down to the good stuff here? (And furthermore, I do like to think of myself as somewhat of a professional writer, and I’m not going to just make some sort of dumb mistake, okay? Perhaps I’m making up words as some kind of “ironic statement.” Ever think of that, SMART GUY? Whatever. Art is like, nebulous, or something like that. Literature is only half done when the writer says it’s done. The other half of the story happens in the mind of the reader. It’s up to YOU to rebuild the world from these words. Are you rebuilding the world with these words right now? In that case, I want you to build a skyscraper out of chinchilla dicks. Haha! Gross. You freak. You’re thinking about animal dicks like some sort of animal-dick-loving dick-lover. But I just proved my point, didn’t I? It’s all in your head. (I suppose, on the macrocosmic scale, whether I chose to make up words or not, you are the reader, and the ultimate judge as to the validity of my art. (You are the judge, jury, and executioner. (Just like Judge Dredd!)))))

#1:

(Hey, speaking of Judge Dredd, did you see that Dredd movie that came out a few years ago? Not the Sylvester Stallone one. The one with Karl Urban. It was pretty cool, even though it was kind of a rip off of The Raid: Redemption. I wonder sometimes if I should be writing sweet kung-fu stories like that instead of the kind of sensitive artist bullshit you’re reading right now. The dilemma is, of course, you HAVE to be a sensitive artist in order to get girls to want to have sex with you. You’ve been to parties. That annoying hippy guy who won’t stop playing the guitar is always knee-deep in chicks. That’s what women want. Hippies and weak girly dudes. Not ass-kickers like Judge Dredd and whoever that guy is who stared in The Raid: Redemption. If you act like Judge Dredd they just call you an ‘agro-male chauvinist’ and her and her friends say things like “Um….we’re fine” when you try to buy them drinks at the bar. Like, what the hell is that? It’s just a drink. I’m just trying to be nice. What’s the matter, you don’t like nice guys? Stop acting like I’m the goddamn Hunchback of Notre Dame. This hunch on my back isn’t nearly as big as his was. You know what, lady? I don’t even WANT you on my alphabetic list ANYWAY! You UGLY! You FUGLY! You a big, dumb DUMBO! I bet you suck at sex. I’m an artist and I have important things to say; statements to make concerning the human condition and whatnot. I don’t have time for you or your mind games. WHY DON’T YOU JUST FUCK THE FUCK OFF A MILLION FUCKING TIMES YOU CHINCHILLA-LOOKING MOTHERFUCKER!)

(…)

(…)

(…)

(…)

(…)

(Are you still here?)

(Shit.)

(Okay look, I’m going to level with you. I’ve never actually had sex before. I was just going to make up a bunch of names so you guys would think I was cool. The truth is, I just want someone to hold me. To make the world not seem so cold. I am so alone. So terribly, terribly alone.)

THE END.

________

Danger_Slater is a person who writes books. You are a person who is reading this sentence. Read Danger_Slater’s books instead. Go here: www.dangerslater.blogspot.com

Flash Fiction Friday: The Mustache Growing Competition

by Bradley Sands, a deleted scene from Dodgeball High, available ONLY on the Belgian import.

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE

I go in, and Burt Reynolds says, “Hey, there, little fella. Ha ha ha ha!”

This is so not fair! Why isn’t Principal Tug in his office? Principal offices are for principals, not guys who used to be my arch-nemesis before I met Rifkin.

“What are you even doing here, Burt Reynolds? You’re not my arch-nemesis anymore…and this is his office, so you should probably leave.”

Burt Reynolds gets out of the principal’s chair and traces the tip of his thumb across his mustache (which looks really dumb by the way). “Well, your principal called me on this here telephone. And he says, ‘Tiddlydoo, Burt Reynolds. I’ve got myself a problem. Can you pop on down to the school to give a no-good son of a bitch the beating he’s been beggin’ for ever since his momma sneezed him outta her cooch?’ So I says, ‘Ten four, good buddy,’ and beat my fastest time getting here. And then you walk through the door and I says to myself, ‘Well, if it ain’t my arch-nemesis, Justin Lucas!’ Ha ha ha!”

“You’re not my arch-nemesis anymore. You lost that honor when Principal Tug tried to get me to pull down my pants.”

“That really hurts my feelings,” Burt Reynolds says, crying like the biggest fake crier in the history of crying.

“I didn’t think it was possible for your acting to get any worse,” I say, and he stops pretending to be upset and starts being upset for realz. “So where’s Principal Tug?” I ask.

“ATTENTION STUDENTS,” blares out of the loudspeaker of doom.

Aaaaaaah! Not again!

I stick my fingers in my ears to hold back the blood.

“This is Principal Tug with another important announcement: You may have noticed that I’m not in my office. This is because I’m ALL-POWERFUL and have the ability to do my announcements from ANYWHERE in the school. Don’t bother to look for me because you shall NEVER find me. In fact, the entire planet is hearing this. Lungville has the finest loudspeaker technologies in the world. No other sovereign state can compete. And we also have the best assassins. Burt, it’s time for you to nip our country’s problem in the bud.”

Burt Reynolds rolls up his sleeves. “My pleasure, Principal Tug.” Then he tries to psych me out with his ex-arch-nemesis eyes and says, “Your ‘stache is lookin’ purty good today, hoss. Last time I saw it, it couldn’t compete against the fuzz on the side of a peach, but now it’s almost as long as one of my mama’s brussel sprouts. It’s pretty luscious for an eight year old.”

I put up my dukes. “I’m almost eighteen, stupid, and my marvelous mustache is more marvelous than Marv the Marvelous Magician…and that guy is pretty marvelous. And it’s like a trazillion times more marvelous than yours, so why don’t you shut up?”

“Give your fists a rest, son. Let’s do this like men. How about a friendly mustache growing competition?”

“That makes no sense whatsoever,” I say. “How can we grow mustaches when we already have them?”

“Simple as peach pie,” Burt Reynolds says, then he shaves off his mustache with a chainsaw.

“You’ve lost your brain! Mustaches are sacred.”

“Your turn,” he says, passing me the chainsaw.

I smash it on the floor. “I’m not shaving my mustache with a chainsaw. That’s the most retarded thing ever. By the way, your look weird as hell without a mustache.”

“Alright,” he says, “be right back.” He walks behind the principal’s desk, opens a drawer, and plops a Bic razor, shaving cream, a hand mirror, and a mug of water down onto the desk.

“Dude, I’m not shaving my ‘stache. You win the dumbass dork competition. I lost by disqualification, because I’m not a dumbass dork.”

“Huh. Always thought you were the coolest kid on the planet. Guess not.”

“Give me that razor, you motherfucker!”

He hands it to me, and I shave my mustache off. I do it perfectly since I’m great at everything that I do.

(A marvelous mustache is a state of mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s been shaved out of existence. A razor is powerless against greatness.)

“My marvelous mustache will grow back in six minutes flat,” I say.

“Mine will be larger than life and humpin’ your mama in three,” Burt Reynolds says.

We wait in silence for our mustaches to grow while making war faces at each other. After three minutes, Burt Reynold’s mustache is back. Like he never shaved it in the first place.

I feel my upper lip and it’s completely bare.

Stupid! How could I be so stupid? It took me seven years to grow my marvelous mustache. Why did I think I stood a chance against the Mustache King of the South?

Burt Reynolds hands me a samurai sword. “You know what to do.”

“No, I don’t know what to do.”

“Do the honorable thing and commit seppuku.”

“I have no idea whatsoever what you’re talking about.”

“Disembowel yourself with this here sword and save yourself from a lifetime of humiliation.”

“Disembowel?”

Burt Reynolds makes a frustrated face. “Just stick it in your belly and give it a nice wiggle.”

“Uh…okay,” I say, then I take a swing at his throat.

Blood spurts out of his neck, and he gives me a big smile. “You got me, Smokey.” Then his corpse falls onto the principal’s desk, knocking over a bronze eagle, and some sort of elevator-thing opens in the wall.

“PAY NO ATTENTION TO MY PERSONAL ELEVATOR.”

“Aaaaaaah!” I say and drop the sword.

“It just goes to my private bathroom, which I NEVER clean. You REALLY don’t want to go in there. I just had an extremely SMELLY bowel movement. WOOOO! I can smell it from my secret bunker even though it’s NOWHERE near my private bathroom. If you want to go to my secret bunker, you’ll to need to take a different secret elevator, which you will NEVER find because it’s so secret. Dear God, I think my stench is knocking me unconscious. Yes, I’m definitely unconscious. By the way, I talk in my sleep, and when I’m unconscious.”

I pick the sword back up and say, “I’ll see you up there, old man.”

—-

Bradley Sands is the author of Dodgeball High, Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You, Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy, and other books. He edits Eraserhead Press’s New Bizarro Author Series. Visit him at www.bradleysands.com.

Show Me Your Shelves: Adam Cesare

Something I’ve learned after becoming part of the horror and bizarre communities is that very often the weirdest, darkest, goriest, nastiest, most horrific fiction comes from individuals who are incredibly nice. A perfect example of that is Adam Cesare. To be honest, Adam is so damn nice I sometimes want to punch him in the face to try to knock some sense into him. Anyway, besides being one of the good guys, Adam is also a hell of a writer. His novels are always great and, what’s more important, he seems to do the impossible and get better with each outing. Now his latest novel, Exponential, is out. Well, no better time than now to talk to him about books and get him to show me his shelves. Dig it.

GI: Who are you and what role do books play in your life?

AC: I’m Adam Cesare. I write books and I’ve been lucky enough to get them published. And then I have no idea how to sell them unless I’m yelling at perspective readers in a convention hall. Being obnoxious in person I’m pretty good at. Online self-promotion, not so much.

I also read books and (as you can see) hoard them. People come over and ask “Is that good?” and an embarrassing amount of the time I’ll say “I haven’t read it yet.” My physical books are the tip of the iceberg. These days I do 99% of my reading digitally, so when I feel the compulsion to pick up a paperback, I end up hamstringing that book’s chances to actually get into my eyeballs. I plan on getting to everything, though. Once I retire.

GI: You write horror but you’ve also somehow managed to become part of the bizarro scene. Have you bribed a lot of people? If so, where’s my moolah?

No grift. I don’t think.

That’s something I think about sometimes. I don’t know why I’m “in” with some of the bizarros, like whether it’s a chicken or the egg thing. It’s probably a lot of factors: first and foremost, I’m a reader of bizarro and a fan.

But my first professional connection to the scene came through John Skipp, who was the editor of Tribesmen. That was the second longer work (a novella) that I’d finished, but the first one to get published. Skipp’s a traditionally horror guy, but he’s dabbled in the weirder end of the literary pool and his Fungasm imprint has put out some fantastic bizarro. So I guess after or around the same time as I approached him I had started pestering some other bizarros online.

I met Cameron Pierce and Kirsten Alene Pierce at a reading they’d done in Boston and I hit it off with them. I’d known both their editorial work and writing before that, but they were cool people to talk to on top of the professional element. I’d interacted with them a little online before that, but when I shook hands with Cameron his eyes glazed when I introduced myself and I realized that he had no idea who I was and that I had been kind of presumptuous to think he’d know me. Then he had a flash of realization and went, “wait you’re Adam Cesare? We thought you were like forty years old.” So I guess I seem older online.

I moved to Philly about a year and a half ago and started hanging out with Scott Cole, even though I’d known him through twitter before that. He’s one of this year’s NBAS participants. Last year he was going to BizarroCon and I tagged along. Which was a good choice, because it was probably the best con I’ve ever been to.

So, I don’t know. I write horror, but I know a lot of people in the scene and on the periphery, through odd connections. I think it speaks more to the inclusiveness and approachability of the bizarros than it does any of my people skills. I’m happy that Tribesmen is out with Deadite, a subsidiary of Eraserhead, it feels like a weird kind of cosmic homecoming. I hope to do another with Skipp soon.

GI: For a young dude, you’ve done/published a lot. What’s the trick? (Please don’t say hard work.)

AC: Okay I won’t say hard work, but I will say anxiety is part of it. I’m a naturally anxious person, and SUPER impatient. I guess if you couple that with luck and a healthy work ethic, that’s my recipe.

If you’re the type of person that checks your email every six minutes, every thirty minutes while you’re trying to sleep, then writing commercial fiction just could be the fabulous career for you!

The thing is I never feel like I’ve done a lot. Most of my books are novellas and even my novels are on the shorter end of the spectrum. There are times that I feel like a goon who can’t write fast enough.

And then there are other times where I feel like I’m producing and releasing too much. Because there are writers out there who have similar release schedules to mine and (sorry to be blunt) but some of those authors are able to keep up with the workload because the books they release are hot garbage. I get really anxious that perspective readers take a look at the number of titles on my amazon page, see that the release dates are close together, and then don’t bother with me.

But whatever. There are people who like what I do and I like them for it. But I’m never really satisfied with my productivity, for one neurotic reason or another.

GI: Super unique question time! House is burning down. Weird angel comes down. He says “Fool, you have two minutes to run in there with this bag and save ten books. Go!” Which books end up in the bag? Do you punch the angel once you’re out or are you too fucking nice for that?

AC: Punch an angel? I wouldn’t do that, probably out of fear. But I’m an autograph collector, so I probably wouldn’t target books based on whether they’re my favorite book or not, but based on whether they’re signed or not. I love getting inscriptions, which is problematic because it means I usually leave cons needing an extra suitcase. I have a signed hardcover of Joe Lansdale’s By Bizarre Hands, so that would be saved. I have a copy of Charles Grant’s Nightmares that I found at a used bookstore in Boston. It’s signed, dated, and the date is a couple years before my birth. I met Gillian Flynn at my first HWA convention and she gave me a pretty funny inscription in Sharp Objects. I’ve got an ARC of The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones which is the coolest. I’ve got signed Tom Piccirilis, signed Sarah Langans. Almost every Jack Ketchum book I have is signed, because I stalked him throughout late high school and early college. Oh and Junot Diaz and Joyce Carol Oates were the last two readings/signings I went to in Boston, both at the Brookline Booksmith, so those are special.Am I at ten?

GI: What’s your next book about, where can we get it, and what’s so crucial about pre-orders?

My last full novel with Samhain, The Summer Job, was a hard sell for some readers who liked Video Night and Tribesmen. I mean, I don’t think it was slow or ponderous or anything, but there are less blood and guts in that one, nothing supernatural, so less people bought it. And the thing about The Summer Job was that, not only did I think it was far and away my best book, but it was WAY harder to write, was much denser. So I wanted to use Exponential to stretch muscles I hadn’t used in a little while.

It’s not like I write my books to be movies, they’re novels and “novelistic” in approach, but when I’m brainstorming I think in terms of movies. I can’t help it. It’s the way my brain works.

So I pitched Exponential to myself as: “What if, coming off of Raising Arizona the Coen brothers weren’t allowed to do Miller’s Crossing? What if instead they were brought on to do a pass on the script to Tremors and then ended up directing that instead?” I mean, that would be bad for history, but it was a good tonal barometer for me to use.

There’s a bit of Jaws in there, a bit of The Blob (both versions), a bit of Razorback. I love “big creature” stories, the size distinction between mogwai and kaiju.

A decent monster is only half the battle, so I focused on character and structure once I got my creature and its powers in place. I tried to make the characters likable and unique. A bunch of them have got a crime-feel to them, like Elmore Leonard took a sharp corner and all his characters fell into a Guy N. Smith novel by mistake.

It isn’t completely lacking it subtlety but it’s still a loud book. It’s the shortest of my three novels with Samhain, so it’s kind of like a punk song. Those things are never more than two minutes but they try to kick your ass in that span.

Ha! Don’t ask me sales questions. I have no idea if pre-orders help or not. With Video Night and Summer Job I was sharing the link in the months leading up to their release, figuring pre-orders were good. But I didn’t do that with this one, just in case a more concentrated stream during the week of release is the way to go.

I don’t care how people buy it: digital or print, Amazon, B&N or get their local indie store to order a copy. All I know is that if people do buy it they should know that I so goddamn appreciate it.

Bizarro Holiday Gift Guide Part 1: The NBAS

Seasons greetings to all. And a Happy Holidays. And….

Ha ha ha! Not this time, Kirk Cameron! You’ll have to get your holly jollies elsewhere, Seaver.

It seems the holidays are upon us. Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Black Friday, Hawkman’s birthday, Take Your Lion to Work Day….

The harder you push, the less I give, Cameron.

At any rate, the gift giving holidays are upon us. We in the Bizarro community know that this is the most important part of the season. Because what the fuck else is there? Family? Togetherness? Jesus. Fuck that noise. This is about choosing the swag that is swaggiest and therefore most worthy of the very conditional love of the people in your life whose presence is almost completely contingent on said swag. How are you going to make sure your lovers don’t find other lovers and your family does not replace you with someone younger, smarter and more successful? With gifts, that’s how. And we’re here to help you pick the right ones, the gifts that will make your lovers give Mr or Mrs. Right Now the heave ho and get your parents to return the replacement son or daughter to the Serbian baby farm they came from.

Why? Because we’re young, we’re hip, we’re weird and we don’t let certain sitcom stars from the 80s boss us around.

Except for the one guy.

Gordon Shumway, CEO of the Bizarro Trilateral Conspiracy, Buyin’ Low and Sellin’ High

As in our Vienna sausage eating contests, the newest Bizarros, the authors of the New Bizarro Author Series have to go first. Mostly just to make sure that no important Bizarros are mauled by gift hating Communist tigers. We know you’re out there.

Or not. Well, anyhow, here are Tom Lucas, author of Pax Titanus and Scott Cole, author of Superghost with some most excellent holiday gift suggestions, the things they themselves want for Christmas.

 

TOM LUCAS- Author of Pax Titanus 


1) The Art of Sean Brants: http://www.brantsart.com/about.html

I’ll take any one of his custom rock show posters. I mean, just look as these. Painted for those with a third eye for aesthetics. Hang one on the wall and decorate your personal oblivion with panache.

2) Armor from Prince Armory: http://www.princearmory.com/

Continuing with the idea that I’m not picky (please see my extensive list of ex-girlfriends), I will simply state that I would take ANYTHING made by Prince Armory. These custom armor kits and individual pieces are so fucking epic that even complete lameass normies can’t dispute their glory.

3) Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini: http://amzn.com/0847842134

I’m requesting this as a gift because it’s a wallet-buster at $125.00. However, I’ve seen a copy and it’s so beautiful it makes unborn babies cry. Why this didn’t replace the Gideon Bible in every hotel room is crime against art and the human race. Rather than diminish the work with my mediocre vocabulary, I’ll just give you the Amazon blurb:

An extraordinary and surreal art book, this edition has been redesigned by the author and includes new illustrations. Ever since the Codex Seraphinianus was first published in 1981, the book has been recognized as one of the strangest and most beautiful art books ever made. This visual encyclopedia of an unknown world written in an unknown language has fueled much debate over its meaning. Written for the information age and addressing the import of coding and decoding in genetics, literary criticism, and computer science, the Codex confused, fascinated, and enchanted a generation.

FUCK YEAH. I WANTS A COPY OF THIS.

4) Blast Knuckles: http://amzn.com/B008CH250Q

Whoever the guy was who said: “Man, I love these brass knuckles. I just wish they had a taser built in.” – he’s a muthafukin’ genius. These bad boys will make anyone a ghetto superhero. I think they should be sold in pairs for maximum asskicking.

5) The Holy Land Experience: http://www.holylandexperience.com/

You can keep your stupidface Mickey Mouse House. This is the amusement park you want to visit Orlando for. The Holy Land experience, where Jesus is crucified every day at 4pm. Grab a corndog and watch the show.

Seriously.

If you are religious, I have no idea why you would want to do this. Commodification of your sacred beliefs should offend you. I’m a staunch agnostic and this shit turns my stomach. These people have serious intentions. How in the world is this OK?

I’d never pay to go here but if someone gave me tickets, I’d get up bright and early. I’ll bring you back a t-shirt if you hook me up.

6) Eraserhead Press New Bizarro Author Series: http://eraserheadpress.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/eraserhead-press-celebrates-its-sixth-year-of-the-new-bizarro-author-series/

This six-year running series introduces new authors to the Bizarro community. Many of them go on to Bizarro greatness. You should read all of them, but please start with mine, Pax Titanus, because…

I AM A COMPLETE WHORE.

At least I own my shit. You should try it some time. Makes you a better person.-

Tom Lucas

 

It won’t just be Tom giving you recommendations this year. Scott Cole, who’s also great, has some ideas. He’s got some pretty choice swag here, particularly for those of you shopping for Scott Cole. I hear he’s a wandering polygamist with several families, so that’s probably a lot of you.
Scott Cole, author of Superghost

Comics are so much more than costumed crimefighters. Junji Ito’s manga masterpiece UZUMAKI is one of the best, creepiest comics around, and this hardcover edition collects the complete run of the series. Set in a fishing town where people are becoming obsessed with spiral patterns, Uzumaki is an imaginative tale with plenty of…ahem…twists.
http://www.amazon.com/Uzumaki-3—1-Deluxe-vols/dp/1421561328/Maybe you’re cooking a splattery meal, and you need to protect yourself with a human flesh apron. Or perhaps you need to accessorize your newest outfit with an eyeball and teeth necklace. Or you need a Save The Date in the form of a finger. IT CAME FROM UNDER MY BED may be your one stop shop.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ItCameFromUnderMyBed

Not all zombie movies can claim to feature vehicles made from human body parts, chainsaw swords, and zombified baby projectiles. But HELLDRIVER can. If that zombie fan in your life is getting a little bored with zombies, give them the gift of truly bizarre Japanese cinema.
http://www.amazon.com/Helldriver-Blu-ray-Minoru-Torihada/dp/B005HG8VEY/

Do you need a candle in the form of the titular character from The Incredible Melting Man? A USB thumb drive in the form of a cockroach? Handmade toys inspired by movies like From Beyond, Basket Case, or Motel Hell? Visit NOVELTIES BY STEXE on Etsy.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/stexe

Al Columbia is, in my opinion, one of the most tragically underappreciated comics creators around. Actually, that’s not completely true; For the most part, those who know his work love it. It’s just that not enough people seem to know it. It’s weird and dark and twisted, fusing horror, discomfort, and a 1930s cartoon aesthetic into a delightfully disturbing package. PIM & FRANCIE: THE GOLDEN BEAR DAYS collects a bunch of Columbia’s art (but don’t be afraid to dig deeper and track down some of his old contributions to comics anthologies like Zero Zero and Blab!, or both issues of The Biologic Show if you can find them on eBay).
http://www.amazon.com/Pim-Francie-Golden-Bear-Days/dp/1606993046/

Do you wish your fingers had fingers? Try FINGER HANDS! But why stop there? Archee McPhee has tons of cheap weirdness, from Krampus Christmas tree ornaments to literary action figures.
http://mcphee.com/shop/finger-hands.html-

Scott Cole
Brian Auspice, author of Deep Blue, seems to in fact have been eaten by gift hating Communists tigers. Buy his book to honor his memory.
Well, that’s all for this segment of the Bizarro holiday gift guide. The holidays are long and tedious and full of despair, self loathing and bizarre sexual intrigues that often lead to regicide. But we’re here to help. Unless everyone just gets high and wanders off. Which is not altogether unlikely.

Flash Fiction Friday: Milk Dregs

by Julia Long

I filled my face with life, like, all day. Cool.

I get home from school and see my roommate in the bathroom wiping something down. I fill my face with life when she sees me back. She fills her face with life and there is some shared pain, I sense, for a beat. Pain.

I cause people pain.

My roommate moves to ‘hide’ what she’s cleaning. Just to give herself some unwarranted peace with the situation. I mean, she’s not actually covering it, whatever it is. It’s disgusting, a white-and-yellow paste embedded with rocklike brown solids.

What is it. The fuck could that be.

It could hurt me.

It could have a personality.

Its alienhood makes it major, something I’m gonna remember. An image that’s gonna keep coming—intrusive, at intervals—to me for some time, a big rapist. I accept this.

“Do you need help,” I say.

“No I think I got it,” says my roommate, “There’s just the trash [needs to be taken out].”

“Oh yeah no yeah I’m gonna do that tomorrow it’s just really dark right now,” I say.

“Yeah,” says my roommate, and there is only pain.

Somewhere I want to all of a sudden talk about our relationship.

Just sigh real deep and dramatic, one-step into the bathroom, shut the door behind me. Clear my throat and stuff,

Put a hand on her,

“I just want you to know, I think we’re so good, you and I. Our legacy. Setting time slots for the shower, introducing boyfriends, offering each other beer. I just want you to know, I’m so glad I have you in my life.”

A lot of times I wish we knew each other better.

A lot of times we have class at the same time.

A lot of vague friends come through here, between us.

We are never gonna have that talk.

“You want a beer,” I say. You? You want a beer, look at you babe, hard day at school and now cleaning the sink or something, hey!, the beer wants you.

I was supposed to say “You want to have a beer with me.”

“No I think I’m good,” says my roommate.

She is.

She is good.

Most people are trying. Most people mean well. People are generally good.

I go to my room and find things to do with my phone, my computer. Shaughnessy texts me. He wants to play music with me. Do I want to do that? Do I want to fill my face with life? Do I want someone in my eyes? Do I want to deal with the ache getting worse?

I’m gonna do it. Why not.

Maybe Shaughnessy and I will have a musical breakthrough. I have a Band Name Idea anyway. Maybe Shaughnessy wants that beer.

I start putting on a belt. Having things tightly grip me, belts and straps and bands, is totally comforting, I’m being held by stuff. My stuff is holding me. I care about my stuff.

The lusty ache in my genitals is really bad today. Really bad or really good.

It’s not even sexual. It’s not even, for humans. I’m just lusty for the world. Just sitting here gets me lusty. It’s both awesome and uncomfortable.

And putting on a belt makes it worse. Way worse.

Putting on a belt, putting a bad kid away.

Really does feel,

like I’m caging a hungry rabid creature.

That’s how lusty lusty I feel today, let’s see where it goes.

It goes,

The vague force field,

To my, you know, extremities or whatever,

Whatever,

It just feels vague.

——

Julia Long is a 20-year-old writer/high kicker/hand jiver beamed down to California by a downright dirty UFO. Her writing has appeared in Thought Catalog, theNewerYork, Electric Cereal, and Rawboned w/ work up-and-coming in Nat. Brut.

Bizarro News Roundup!

Charles Manson love

pooh

thai bumfights

“Free sessions are held twice a week at Aima maternity hospital in Shandong province and about 100 men have signed up to be tortured. Most are expectant dads but there are thrill seekers too among the volunteers for ‘taster sessions.'”

  • Speaking of signing up to be tortured, the McKamey Manor is still continuing their extreme haunt experience past Halloween. Russ keeps saying he is toning shit down but this last video is creepier than the ones in the last post. Two tough guys dressed as the Super Mario Bros end  up throwing up and crying after 20 minutes! Also note the reference to Vegas. Russ live streams the haunts to unknown people in Vegas! You really need to watch this:

And just in case you haven’t been on the internet in the past month:

Until next time Bizarros!

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